Pedaling the Himalayan Slopes (8 days)

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specialDepartures March-May, September, October
This tour is designed to give cyclists a perfect experience pedaling the winding roads in Bhutan’s Himalayan slopes. Maximum hours of cycling per day does not exceed 5 hours. You are escorted by an experienced cycling guide. The tour is perfectly arranged keeping in mind that the tour is adventurous and enjoyable at the same time and not too tiring or hectic. Cyclists have the option to travel by vehicle if they feel they do not want to cycle. Pedaling the Himalayan Slopes offers cycle enthusiasts the chance to see Bhutan “their way”.

Day 1 – Paro
Altitude: 2280 meter
Slopes: Gentle
Roads/slopes: Gentle slopes, winding roads, black topped and smooth

On arrival you are met at the airport by our representative in the traditional Bhutanese manner with Tashi Kadar and tea. You are driven to your hotel.

After lunch, is a time to relax and adapt yourself with the climate, place and people.

You shall have options for the following:

1. Explore Paro town and valley at your own pace on bicycle.
2. Walk around Paro town and valley at your own pace
3. Go for a typical Bhutanese hot stone bath.

Hot stone bath: The traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.

Dinner and overnight in the hotel

Day 2 – Paro/Thimphu
After breakfast, ride on bicycle to the base of Taktshang Monastery.

Distance: 8 Kms ride
Approximate Time: 20 Minutes
Riding elevation: 2280 Meters
Road:
– Through the villages among blue pine trees.
- Main Road and a short diversion to the base (Ramathangkha)
- A slight uphill after the diversion of 3 kms.

Taktshang Monastery: The primary lhakhang was built surrounding Guru Rimpoche’s Meditation cave in the 1684 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer Rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava flew here on the back of a tigress. It is a two hours excursion uphill; however, one feels truly blessed reaching the monastery.

After lunch, ride to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong.

Distance from the base: 10 kms
Time: 30 Minutes approx
Riding elevation: 2280 Meters
Road:
- Among the villages and blue pine forest
- Winding road with gentle up hills and downhills.

Ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong: It was here that the Bhutanese finally defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back. Peak of Jumolhari ‘Mountain of the Goddess’ (Alt. 7,329 m /24,029 ft.) can be seen on a clear day from here.

Cycle to Thimphu. Stop at places for photography and to view scenery.

Distance (Drukgyal – Thimphu): -80 kms
Time: 3 – 3.5 hrs
Road:
- Winding but well maintained and smooth
- Windy in the afternoon
- Along the side of the Paro River (Pa Chhu) till Chuzom and then the -Thimphu River (Wang Chhu)

The ride from Drukgyal to Thimphu shall bring you across the following:
- treeless mountains,
- blue pine forests,
- unique Bhutanese villages and people
- Bhutanese chortens (Stupas)
- Tamchog Lhakhang

Tamchog lhakhang (between Paro and Thimphu): built in the 13th century by Thangthong Gyalpo. He is also known as the Iron bridge builder. Situated on a hill top, we have to cross an ancient style bridge to reach the temple. It is owned by the descendants of Thangthong Gyalpo.

Dinner and overnight in hotel in Thimphu

Day 3 – Thimphu
Altitude: 2350 meters
Slopes: Gentle and up hill
Roads/slopes: Gentle slopes, uphill and downhill, winding roads, black topped and smooth, good number of vehicle on the road.

After breakfast, ride to the Kuenselphodrang.

Distance: 6 kms from town
Time: Uphill – 30 minutes approx
Elevation: 2350 m to 2500 m at Kuenselphodrang
Road: Smooth and good, uphill.

Kuenselphodrang: A place for refreshing with a huge statue of Buddha on the top of the Kuenselphodrang. The area also gives a very good view of the Thimphu valley from the west and is a good walking and bicycling place.

Ride to National Memorial Chorten.

Distance (Kuensel Phodrang to Memorial Chorten): 4.8 kms
Time: approx 15 minutes
Road: Smooth and good, downhill.

National Memorial Chorten: This Chorten was built in the honour of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, also known as “The Father of Modern Bhutan”. This Chorten was built in 1974 in a typical Tibetan style. This Chorten is also a center of worship for the people living in Thimphu and contains many religious paintings and tantric statues.

Back to hotel. After lunch, cycle to Sangaygang view point.

Distance from town: 7 kms
Time: approx 30 minutes
Elevation: 2685 metes
Road: Smooth and good, uphill.

On the way, visit:
The Takin Preserve Centre: The takin, the national animal of Bhutan can be seen here. This particular animal is found only in the Himalayan region.

Sangaygang view point: (2685 meters) to have view of whole Thimphu valley and walk through hundreds of colorful prayer flags that dot the hill overlooking the Thimphu valley.

Ride back to Changangkha Lhakhang downhill.

Changangkha Monastery: This monastery is built on a hill overlooking the Thimphu valley. It was built in 15th Century by Lama Phajo Drugom Zhipo. Many parents of Thimphu take their their new born babies to this monastery to be blessed by a high lama.

From there cycle towards the Drupthob Lhakhang, visit Drupthob Lhakhang.

Drupthob Lhakhang: This Lhakhang is one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan.

After the visiting Drupthob lhakhang, ride back downhill to hotel from Zilukha stoping on the way for a view of the Tashidzong.

Dinner and overnight in hotel

Day 4 – Thimphu/Punakha
After breakfast, cycle to Dochula pass from Thimphu.

Distance: 16 kms
Time: approx 45 minutes to 1 hour
Elevation at Dochula: 3300 meters
Road:
- blacktopped and smooth,
- in some places road maintenance and widening are going on,
- uphill and winding road along the slopes of the Himalayan ranges

Environment: You will come across Hongtsho and Yusipang villages, Bhutanese Chortens and forest consisting of pine, hemlock and spruce bright with rhododendrons. Prayers flags shall greet you a lot of time.

Dochula pass: The most known pass in Bhutan, about 30 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu on the way to Wangduephodrang. It is at around 3150 mt height. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. The pass also has 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens which is believed brings multi fold merit to all sentient beings and which make the pass a must visit place. Himalayan peaks that can be seen from Dochula are Masagang (7200 m) Tsendagang (6960 m), Terigang (7060 m), Jejegangphugang (7158m) and Kangphugang (7170m).

After a short break in Dochula to view the Himalayas and photography, cycle downhill towards Punakha.

Distance: 56 kms
Time: approx 2-3 hrs
Elevation at Dochula: 3300 meters
Road:
- blacktopped and smooth,
- in some places road maintenance and widening are going on,
- downhill and winding road along the slopes of the Himalayan ranges

Environment: Thinlaygang village, Royal Botanical park, great views of the Wangdue valley and the Punatshangchhu River, and the forest as it changes to Semi tropical forests.

Stop at the Royal Botanical Park and visit the Park.

Royal Botanical Park: Situated at an altitude range of 2100 meters – 3800 meters, the park covers an area of 47 square kilometers and is located between Thimphu and Punakha. The park contains a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna and features a huge species of plants and animals including endangered species such as Himalayan yew, native Rhododendron, Royal Bengal Tiger, Musk Deer, Red Panda, Blood pheasants and Himalayan Monal. You can also find Tetracentron (an ancient relict angiosperm with no vessel in its trunk) in the park. The park has 14.5 km of trails for eco trek for cycling and walking and one of the main attractions is the rhododendron garden including a picnic spot with children’s playground.

Cycle towards Punakha. Stop at Lobesa for a short break. Cycle downhill towards Punakha at an altitude of 1310 meters.

While in Punakha view the Punakha Dzong from outside.

Dinner and overnight in hotel

Day 5 – Punakha (1310 meters)
Today is your only sightseeing day.

After breakfast, visit the Punakha Dzong:
Punakha Dzong: This Dzong was built by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637. It is built at the junction the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers. The annual Punakha Tsechhu( Festival ) is held here. The monk body resides in this dzong in winter.

Drive to Wangdue and on the way visit:
Chhimi Lhakhang: This temple is located on the way to Punakha. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility and was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 15 century. Lama Drukpa Kuenley is also known as the “Divine Madman”.

Drive further to Wangduephodrang and view the ruins of Wangduephodrang from the base. Then visit the Rinchengang village.

Rinchengang valley: it is small and clusterd valley located opposite to Wangduephodrang dzong. It is about 20 minutes hike uphill from the near road.

After lunch, excursion to Khamsum Yulley Monastery:

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten: This chorten is built on a ridge above the Punakha valley. It took around nine years to built the chorten. over a period of 9 years. It is said that the Bhutanese craftsmen consulted Holy Scriptures to construct this 4 storey temple. The temple was built by Her Majesty, the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck.

The evening ends walking or cycling around the Punakha Valley.

Dinner and overnight in hotel

Day 6 – Punakha/Thimphu
After breakfast, cycle uphill towards Dochula.

Time: 4 hrs approx.

Lunch at Dochula cafeteria. After lunch, cycle downhill for around half an hour. In the evening, explore the Thimphu valley.

Dinner and overnight in hotel

Day 7 – Thimphu/Chelela Pass/Paro

After breakfast, cycle towards Paro and then cycle uphill 35 kms towards Chelala pass at an elevation of 3988 meters for approximately two hours. Cycle back down hill to Paro approx. time 1 hour.

After lunch free time for shopping souvenirs. Dinner and overnight in hotel

Day 8 – Depart Paro
After breakfast, you are driven to the Paro airport for your departure flight onward or homebound.

CALL NOW to BOOK 415-331-3791

(Small group tour with minimum 3 persons for guaranteed departure)

NOTE: Druk Air cost is additional to tour cost. The schedule and cost is quoted from Bangkok, Kathmandu and Kolkata.

CALL NOW to BOOK 415-331-3791